Re: [asa] The Christmas Story

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Jan 07 2008 - 15:47:30 EST

The mention of the star indicating the house in which Jesus was when
the magi arrived has been taken to indicate that it would need to be a
phenomenon within the atmosphere. However, I know that the precise
alignment of objects (buildings, columns, etc.) with the rising or
setting of astronomical bodies was noted in other cultures. Could the
"star" rising or setting behind a particular building from the
viewpoint of the magi as they arrived be a way to point to a
particular spot?

There were censuses conducted around this time-one sparked a Jewish revolt.

The possibility that the sheep in question were being kept
specifically for Passover would suggest a winter date, but I don't
know how well-grounded such ideas are. It's theologically attractive
and has some justification in evidence of Jewish traditions, but I
don't recall full details-probably heard in sermon rather than read
with good references.

There's some textual debate about the exact governor name and timing
("when" or "before") for the census in Luke, on top of the difficulty
of pinning down an exact time for a census hat would have taken some
time to coordinate and implement. Even if we had precise
administrative details from Judea, we don't know how far in advance of
the deadline Joseph and Mary traveled, though the crowded inn suggest
that they didn't beat the rush. Waiting until the last minute would
run the risk of missing the deadline due to unforseen delays and being
charged with taking leave of their census.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Jan 7 15:49:05 2008

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